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Seaport's 150 Seaport Boulevard to be the St. Regis Residences, Boston. Billowy 22-story tower will have 114 luxury condos.

By Tom Acitelli, Curbed Boston

Rendering courtesy of Cronin Development

The famously billowy condo tower planned for 150 Seaport Boulevard, on the Seaport District sites of the Whiskey Priest and the Atlantic Beer Garden, will open as an outpost of the St. Regis luxury brand, according to developer Cronin Development.

The firm reached a licensing deal with Marriott International, which is not itself involved in the development. 

The tower is due to have 114 condos and to reach to 22 stories. A groundbreaking is expected this fall, with an opening scheduled for late 2020. 

Such an opening will cap a long time of back-and-forth on the plans. The Conservation Law Foundation, an environmental group, agreed in January to drop a lawsuit against the project in exchange for $13.1 million in funding for a waterfront park, a public dock, and children’s programming.

The group had opposed Cronin’s (very expensive) plans on zoning grounds because of concerns about public access to the waterfront.

As it stands now, the future condos will come with access to a suite of St. Regis-branded luxury services, including concierge and butler service, and to amenities such as a swimming pool, a spa, a health club, a library, and what the developer is calling a golf-simulation room. 

Then there’s the design of the building itself, courtesy of the late Howard Elkus of Elkus Manfredi. It is meant to evoke a billowy sail. 

Stay tuned for sales (the other kind). Those are expected to launch in the fall.

Congestion pricing in Boston: Has its time arrived?

By Tom Acitelli of Curbed Boston

York City is closer than ever to enacting congestion pricing—that is, charging most motorists a fee for driving in and out of Manhattan’s main commercial districts. 

The idea has the backing of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the sort-of backing, or at least not outright opposition, of New York Mayor (and Cambridge native) Bill de Blasio. Business groups are starting to line up behind it, and even ride-hailing apps such as Uber are saying they wouldn’t have a problem with the fee. 

The idea behind congestion pricing is simple: To reduce vehicular traffic in congested areas by making it a cost-benefit analysis rather than a routine for drivers. Go in and about only if you absolutely need to—otherwise, take public transit, bike, or walk. 

In New York’s case, too, the revenue from congestion pricing under the most recent proposal would go toward paying for much-needed repairs to the region’s public transit system, particularly the subway.

You know what other region needs money for its public transit system, particularly the subway? Yes, Boston. 

The idea of charging drivers a fee for entering the city’s core is not a new one (and highway tolls are already a fact of life here). The idea has been bandied about to the point of mulling where officials might locate cameras to snap cars’ photos for fees.